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25 Strategies to Improve Efficiency at Your Restaurant

Updated on July 20, 2023 8 minute read
Author : Ryan Andrews
Reviewed by : Nezar Kadhem
Updated : July 20, 2023 8 min read
Author : Ryan Andrews
Reviewed by : Nezar Kadhem

Restaurant efficiency is critical for success in today's competitive industry.

Poor communication, inadequate training, and outdated technology can lead to inefficiencies. However, by following the right strategies and leveraging technology, restaurants can improve efficiency and boost their bottom line.

According to a study by the National Restaurant Association, 80% of restaurants today use technology to help with running their company more efficiently. Combining the right tools with the right support for all of your staff members could be the key to success in today's fast-moving restaurant landscape.

In this article, we'll discuss 25 of the best ways to improve restaurant efficiency. We'll cover topics such as streamlining front-of-house processes, optimizing back-of-house operations, and investing in the right technology.

Here are some specific changes you can make to improve your restaurant's efficiency:

>>Create your operations checklists with our template

Key Takeaways

  • Efficient restaurants avoid losses and maintain a positive reputation.

  • Factors like poor communication and outdated technology contribute to inefficiency.

  • Employ technology and empower staff to improve efficiency.

  • Utilize online reservations, contactless payments, and loyalty programs to enhance customer satisfaction.

  • Cross-train employees and foster a positive work culture for flexibility and productivity.

  • Implement automation to reduce errors and improve customer satisfaction.

  • Analyze customer feedback and monitor KPIs for data-driven decision-making.

  • Green practices and equipment maintenance reduce costs and show environmental responsibility.

1. Plan ahead and get organized

To run your restaurant smoothly, adopt an organized approach by actively planning your days and weeks. Prioritize tasks and efficiently coordinate your schedule with a well-structured to-do list. Utilize digital tools, such as project management software or task-tracking apps, to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

2. Empower and engage with staff 

Motivate your team to enhance restaurant efficiency. Identify opportunities for improvement and set up incentives to encourage staff members to excel in areas crucial to your business's success. Regularly engage with your employees to gather feedback and involve them in decision-making processes.

Improve your restaurant efficiency

3. Minimizing errors with tech

Integrating a table management system into your restaurant operations can significantly reduce errors and boost efficiency. This system allows real-time tracking of table availability, optimizes seating, and enables seamless integration with the POS. 

With features like waitlist management and personalized guest tracking, the system enhances the dining experience and streamlines operations. By leveraging data insights, you can make data-driven decisions, improving staff schedules, and ensuring a positive customer experience. Embrace the power of technology to run a smoother and more successful restaurant.

>>> Want to know more? Request a demo today.

4. Constantly offer staff development

Invest in ongoing training to upskill your team and improve business operations. Empower your high-performing staff to mentor others, ensuring a more knowledgeable and loyal workforce. Training sessions can cover customer service, new menu items, and operational best practices.

5. Utilize online reservations

Implementing an online reservation system streamlines booking management, reduces wait times, and optimizes table utilization. Real-time updates on table availability enhance customer convenience and minimize no-shows. Gain valuable insights to make data-driven decisions and create a seamless dining experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

Optimize your back-of-house

6. Introduce contactless payments

Offer contactless payment options to enhance customer convenience and speed up transactions. This is a great way to improve the customer experience and reduce wait times. It's also important to ensure that all staff members are trained to assist customers with contactless payment methods.

Here are some of the benefits of contactless payment:

  • Speed and Convenience: Quick and effortless transactions, reducing wait times.
  • Hygiene and Safety: No physical contact, promoting safety for customers and staff.
  • Reduced Errors: Minimizes mistakes in transactions.
  • Increased Sales: Encourages impulse purchases and customer satisfaction.
  • Flexibility: Multiple payment methods are available.
  • Integration with Loyalty Programs: Seamlessly connects with loyalty programs.
  • Improved Efficiency: Speeds up checkout lines.
  • Enhanced Security: Utilizes encryption and tokenization technology.
  • Better Data Insights: Provides valuable customer spending data.
  • Future-proofing: Aligns with cashless and digital payment trends.

>>> Learn more about contactless payment here.Free Restaurant Operations Manual Checklists Create your own operations manual checklists using our free and customizable  templates with examples Download Now

7. Make sure your floor plan is correct

The layout of your restaurant is an important aspect of its efficiency. It is critical that your floor plan allows for smooth circulation of employees and customers, and that the various areas are positioned in a way that makes sense and eliminates needless back and forth.

Consider elements such as space between tables and the path that waiters take transporting food from the kitchen to the dining room - this should be as simple and obvious as possible to guarantee speedy and efficient service.

8. Leverage customer loyalty programs

Implement a customer loyalty program to incentivize repeat business and enhance customer retention. Offer personalized rewards and promotions based on customer preferences and purchase history.

“Recognize and appreciate their support to reinforce their loyalty. Show gratitude through personalized messages, special discounts, or surprise gifts,” says business expert and Director of Search At HealthPlanOne, Ross Kernez.

By leveraging customer loyalty programs, restaurants can build stronger relationships with their clientele, streamline operations, and create a positive feedback loop that fosters continuous improvement. This not only enhances overall efficiency but also cultivates a loyal customer base that is more likely to support the restaurant in the long run.

9. Optimize staff scheduling

Utilize advanced scheduling software that takes into account historical sales data to optimize labor costs and ensure adequate staffing during peak hours. This intelligent system enables seamless shift swapping, allowing employees to accommodate their personal needs while maintaining operational efficiency.

10. Offer employee incentives

Implement performance-based incentives to motivate staff and drive productivity. Recognize outstanding performance and provide opportunities for career growth within the restaurant. These incentives foster a sense of accomplishment and encourage employees to go above and beyond in their roles.

11. Conduct regular staff training

Keep your team updated with ongoing training on customer service, menu knowledge, and operational best practices. Organize regular workshops and seminars to enhance skills and knowledge, ensuring that your staff is well-prepared to deliver exceptional service.

12. Optimize back-of-house operations

Your back-of-house staff is responsible for everything from food preparation to kitchen cleanliness. To get the most out of your team, create a robust training strategy that includes:

  • Optimized Onboarding: Provide comprehensive onboarding to new employees, covering kitchen procedures, hygiene, and best practices to ensure efficiency and success.

  • Training Manuals: Offer detailed training manuals for quick reference, enabling new hires to access essential information easily and reducing the need for constant assistance.

  • Regular Updates: Keep staff informed about customer preferences and industry trends through regular up-skilling opportunities, ensuring they stay ahead and efficient.

  • Feedback Loops: Gather feedback from team members to identify successful strategies and unlock new levels of productivity.

  • Inventory Management Software: Utilize inventory management software to track ingredient levels, prevent shortages, and minimize wastage for smooth kitchen operations.

>>> Download your free staff training manual here. 

13. Harness the power of data

Knowing your sales numbers is essential, but true restaurant efficiency lies in understanding the underlying reasons behind those figures.

Delve into your data to unlock valuable insights and use quantitative information to make informed decisions that prioritize customer satisfaction and drive profitability. By leveraging data analytics, you can piece together the puzzle of your business and optimize your restaurant operations effectively.

14. Encourage cross-training

Cross-train employees in different roles to increase flexibility and efficiency during busy periods. Ensure all staff members are familiar with multiple tasks to reduce dependency on specific individuals. This approach enhances teamwork and enables smoother operations even during staff shortages.

"Cross-training is one of the most important things you can do to improve your restaurant's efficiency. It allows your employees to be more flexible and adaptable, and it can help to reduce staff turnover. When employees know how to do multiple jobs, they're less likely to get bored or frustrated, and they're more likely to stay with your restaurant for the long term." -- Dawn Walker, Restaurant Consultant

Here are some additional benefits of cross-training employees, as cited by Walker:

  • Increased employee satisfaction: Cross-training can help to increase employee satisfaction by giving them more opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Improved teamwork: Cross-training can help to improve teamwork by giving employees a better understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities.
  • Reduced stress: Cross-training can help to reduce stress by giving employees the ability to take on different roles when needed.

If you're looking for ways to improve your restaurant's efficiency, cross-training is a great place to start. By cross-training your employees, you can create a more flexible, productive, and satisfied workforce.

15. Make it simple to pay out 

The usual end-of-day ritual can be time-consuming, with much time spent seeking that stray five dollars.

Implementing an integrated payment system allows you to automatically balance your takings at the end of the day, saving you an hour or so per site.

16. Streamline menu selection

Simplify your menu to focus on popular and easily prepared dishes, reducing wait times and kitchen complexity. Use customer feedback and sales data to determine the most popular items to retain on the menu. A well-curated menu ensures faster service and higher customer satisfaction.

>>> Discover an awesome way to create a successful restaurant menu.

17. Centralize communication

Use a digital communication platform to keep staff informed about specials, promotions, and operational updates in real-time. Implement a system for staff feedback to address concerns and suggestions promptly, fostering a collaborative and transparent work environment.

18. Implement online ordering

Offer online ordering for takeout and delivery, streamlining the ordering process and reducing phone wait times. Optimize the online ordering platform for mobile devices to cater to on-the-go customers, making it convenient and efficient for them to place orders.

19. Utilize task management apps

Implement task management apps to organize and prioritize daily tasks, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. Assign tasks to specific employees and set deadlines for completion, promoting accountability and productivity.

20. Conduct regular equipment maintenance

Schedule routine maintenance for kitchen equipment to prevent breakdowns and ensure smooth operations. Keep detailed records of maintenance schedules and repair history to extend the lifespan of equipment and reduce unexpected downtime.

21. Adopt green practices

Introduce energy-efficient appliances and eco-friendly practices to reduce operating costs and demonstrate environmental responsibility. Educate staff on green initiatives and encourage their active participation, aligning your restaurant with sustainable values.

>>> Learn more about restaurant sustainability here. 

22. Analyze customer feedback

Gather and analyze customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and address customer concerns proactively. Use positive reviews to recognize staff efforts and motivate the team, while addressing negative feedback to enhance service quality.

23. Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Use POS data to track KPIs such as average transaction value, table turnover rate, and peak hours for better decision-making. Regularly review KPIs to identify trends and implement necessary adjustments, maximizing operational efficiency.

24. Embrace automation

Restaurant automation offers a host of advantages that can revolutionize your operations:

  • Simplifies processes and optimizes operations: Automation streamlines various tasks, from order processing to inventory management, ensuring smoother and more efficient workflows.

  • Lowers operational costs: By automating repetitive tasks, you can reduce the need for manual labor, leading to cost savings in the long run.

  • Eliminates user error: Automated systems minimize the risk of human errors, such as incorrect orders or inaccurate data entry, ensuring greater accuracy and consistency.

  • Lowers waste: With precise inventory management and optimized food preparation, automation helps minimize food wastage, translating to cost savings and environmental benefits.

  • Works with a small staff: Implementing automation allows you to achieve higher productivity with a smaller workforce, making it easier to manage labor costs.

  • Lowers turnaround times: Faster and error-free processes lead to quicker service, reducing customer waiting times and enhancing their overall dining experience.

  • Improves customer satisfaction: With streamlined operations, faster service, and reduced errors, customers are more likely to leave satisfied and return for future visits.

25. Foster a positive work culture

Cultivate a positive work environment that promotes teamwork, open communication, and mutual support, leading to more engaged and productive employees. Recognize and reward employee contributions to reinforce a positive culture that motivates staff to excel.


In conclusion, adopting effective strategies for restaurant efficiency is essential for success in the competitive food industry. By prioritizing organization, technology, and staff empowerment, restaurants can streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and boost profitability. With a positive work culture, data-driven decisions, and continuous improvement, restaurants can thrive and build a loyal customer base for sustained success. Efficiency remains the key ingredient to stand out and excel in the dynamic restaurant landscape.


Frequently Ask Questions

What is restaurant efficiency?

Restaurant efficiency is essential for generating profits in an industry marked by slim margins and intense competition. Inefficient establishments often stem from a combination of the following factors, if not all: Poor stock management and rotation practices, untrained and demotivated staff.

What makes a restaurant efficient?

Having a system that is simple to use and trained staff will eliminate human mistakes, which cost your company money. Small errors committed by personnel can frequently result in a chaotic workplace as they attempt to remedy the situation. Reducing the likelihood of these errors will aid in keeping things operating smoothly and efficiently.

What is operational efficiency in the food industry?

The ability of a restaurant to minimize time, labor, and material waste while still offering high-quality services or items is referred to as operational efficiency. Operations management requires keeping an eye on all of your restaurant's essential departments.

How crucial are efficient and effective operations to restaurant success?

Efficient and effective operations are crucial for the success of restaurants. They not only reduce costs but also enhance customer satisfaction and increase profit margins. These factors enable restaurants to remain competitive in a constantly evolving market.

Free Restaurant Operations Manual Checklists Create your own operations manual checklists using our free and customizable  templates with examples Download Now

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